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Clays exfoliants and other additives

Clays, Exfoliants, and Other Additives

Clays exfoliants and other additives in our specialty soaps have been used for centuries. Used across Europe, Asia, and by Native Americans as well. The Native American word for clay was  “Ee-Wah-Kee,” which means “The Mud That Heals. Today, we know that these clays reach down into the pores to draw out the oils and grime. Absorbing them so they can be easily rinsed away.

The natural exfoliants we use may remind you of a grocery shopping list as you read the list. But if you can eat it, then it is safe to use on the skin. A treatment normally thought of as removing dead skin cells, exfoliation addresses much more. From refining the texture of your skin to increasing the effectiveness of other skincare products.

Other additives we use in soaps range from herbs to teas and from types of milk to beers. Below is a list of our clays, exfoliants, and other additives if you would like to learn more about why we use them.


Activated Charcoal

While not technically a clay is sometimes used similarly to clays. Now we’re not talking about the charcoal you have out back to grill your next batch of burgers or steak. Commercially made activated charcoal is created in one of three methods that involve extremely high temperatures and various chemicals. The process creates a product that has microscopic pores and a negative electrical charge.

Noted for the ability to attract positively toxins and then trap them in the carbon pores activated charcoal is a fairly modern discovery, dating to the early 1900s. However, charcoal has been used as an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent dating to around 450 BC.

Used in soaps, this carbon can act as a gentle exfoliate, while absorbing excess oils. Thereby helping to reduce the appearance of oversized pores. While its beneficial properties may promote healing minor scraps and bug bites.

Bentonite Clay

Created from ancient volcanic ash. With calcium, iron, potassium, sodium, and magnesium being the minerals found in Bentonite Clay. The world’s largest deposits sit in the shadow of Yellowstone National Park. The site of a super volcano eruption seventy thousand years ago.

We know clays with the makeup of Bentonite have been used as far back as 300 BC through the writings of Aristotle the Greek philosopher. The clay gathered from regions in France.

Considered an excellent clay for oily skin Bentonite can absorb ten times its weight in water. Additionally, the clay’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties may help heal skin outbreaks.

You will also find this clay in our shave soaps due to the slip it provides which helps the razor slide over the face.


Dead Sea Clay

Also known as Dead Sea Mud, this clay is mined in the Dead Sea area of Israel. The lowest point on earth which has high levels of magnesium, potassium, sulfate, and calcium. For centuries the Jorden River has flowed into the Dead Sea with no outlet, depositing the minerals people have come to treasure.

Most often mixed with milk or distilled water to form a paste this clay is used for facial masks. An ancient beauty treatment used by both the Queen of Sheba and Cleopatra.

Noted for nourishing the skin and alleviating the symptoms of dry skin. Dead Sea clay helps to exfoliate & detoxify the skin. Absorbing toxins, dead skin cells, and excess oils to be rinsed away. Resulting in clear pores to fight the appearance of aging as well as killing off the bacteria that cause acne. 

French Green Clay

Sometimes referred to as Sea Clay, French Green Clay is the result of decomposing plant life in iron oxide-rich earth. Normally kelp seaweed and other algae.

A finely textured clay rich in minerals this clay is suitable for oily or sensitive skin. For example, magnesium, calcium, potassium, zinc, cobalt, copper, and selenium combine to supply excellent oil-absorbing properties.

Often praised for its gentle exfoliating properties French Green clay is noted for the ability to rinse away dead skin cells without the normal scrubbing, burning, or stinging sensations that exfoliating typically has. Thereby balancing the skin, while drawing out impurities.

Kaolin Clay

Weathered sediments of feldspar form the fine white kaolinite that is referred to as Kaolin or China clay. However, other colors do occur when other minerals are present. First used in China to produce porcelain the pure white clay was most treasured.

Used for centuries to absorb excess sebum from the skin. Considered a gentle cleanser for any skin type. This clay extracts impurities and absorbs excess oils without causing inflammation or redness.

Being an effective, chemical-free skin cleanser Kaolin clay is used as masks, scrubs, and more in weekly treatments. Many admiring the clay’s benefits for helping the skin.

Rhassoul Clay

A rare brown sediment sometimes called Moroccan red clay, Rhassoul clay is only found in a valley of the Atlas mountains. With a unique mineral composition rich in magnesium many have claimed this absorbs into the skin. To fight acne, cleanse impurities, and improve skin elasticity. However, very little has been proven about these claims. Still, it has been used for centuries by various cultures.

What we do know is this clay’s makeup includes negatively charged metallic elements, which can attract positively charged toxins and bond to them. Making them easier to wash away.  Also, there have been some small trials where researchers suggest that it can act as a protective barrier while eliminating toxic substances to which the skin is exposed.

All of the above mentioned many skincare gurus swear by this clay for aging skin.


Rose Clay

Rose clay, sometimes called pink clay is a mild kaolin clay found in many parts of the world. However, the best is mined in Brazil. As with other kaolin clays, this clay is weathered feldspar only with iron oxide elements which give the powdery clay its color.

Noted as a gentle exfoliant rose clay is reported to be suitable for most skin types, especially dry, easily irritated skin. With the combined minerals silica, magnesium, selenium, and zinc.



Almond Shell

Finely ground almond shell powder provides a gentle exfoliation to remove dead skin cells and supply a deep cleansing scrub. Another suggested benefit is the simulation of blood circulation and enhancement of the users’ overall vitality.

Often found in commercial shower gels, face washes, soap bars, and other wash-off products containing as much as 5-10% density in these products.

This exfoliant is popular for opening the pores to allow the absorption of other skincare products. Enhancing their effects.


Brown Sugar

Another popular exfoliant is brown sugar. The smooth edges of this scrub is a natural source of glycolic acid. Many claiming the natural source as being superior to artificial glycol treatments. As the molecules penetrate deep into the skin to melt away the bonding agent holding dead cells in place.

Brown sugar is also known as natural humectants that draws moisture from the surroundings, moisturizing the skin as it scrubs. While the molasses in brown sugar serves as a skin softening and moisturizing agent as well.

An exfoliant gentle enough to be used on the face as well as the body, brown sugar polishes and clears the skin leaving a glowing shine. Noted by some to brighten and reduce the appearance of scars over time.



Loaded with caffeine and antioxidants coffee scrubs are one of the latest trends. With claims of reducing cellulite, fighting skin problems, and reducing the appearance of aging skin.

While there haven’t been studies on the coffee itself, there have been numerous clinical trials involving coffee bean oil and caffeine. Thanks to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of caffeine and chlorogenic acids found in the coffee oils effectively protect the skin from UV-induced damage. As these compounds also  help reduce inflammation due to skin problems.

Other studies have evidenced that cafestol and kahweol – diterpene esters in the coffee bean does have lipolytic effects. Which is to say there seems to be great potential for cellulite reduction.


More than just a cornbread ingredient this exfoliant is full of antioxidants, zinc, iron, and folic acid which are all great additions to any natural skin routine. Not to mention cornmeal’s ability to remove dirt and dead skin cells.

While this natural scrub is also a source of vitamins A, D, C, and E. Making this absorbent additive is excellent for oily skin while helping to prevent dryness and redness on the skin. As the vitamins, A and C work to fight free radicals and help delay the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on the skin.


Used around the world for more than five thousand years, honey can be found in many over-the-counter ointments, creams, and lotions. With growing evidence supporting honey’s use as a remedy for many skin conditions.

Known for strong microbial and anti-inflammatory properties this additive is proven to help heal wounds and relieve certain skin conditions. While also improving the appearance of the skin to fight the effects that cause premature aging.

As an exfoliant the makeup and enzymes of honey act as deep cleaners clearing out the pores and sloughing off dead skin cells. While the additive’s natural humectant properties hydrate the new layer of skin.

Considered an excellent treatment for any skin type, honey is especially beneficial for dry sensitive skin.


Juniper Berry

Used by both Native Americans and the ancient Egyptians juniper has a long history as a culinary. as well as a medical ingredient. With uses still today ranging from flavorings to herbal medicines. With emerging research into the berry’s powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Noted for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties the juniper berry help to kill bacteria that can cause inflammations and infections. While promoting a more even skin tone. The astringent properties working to deeply cleanse pores of oil, dirt, bacteria, and other compounds. 

Used as a scrub this exfoliant removes the dry, dead skin cells and helps you to nourish the fresh, new skin underneath.



Noted as a skin healing agent for over two thousand years ground oats, was described by Greek physician Dioscorides during Roman Empire, as a skin care remedy. Yet after the fall of Rome for many centuries the benefits of oats were over looked.

Mostly ignored until the 1930s the 20th century gave rebirth to the soothing protective abilities of oats. With scientist identifying the key beneficial molecules of oats in 1990s.

Known to moisturize, and protect, as it exfoliates, and cleanses your skin, oatmeal also helps boost collagen. Improving your skin complexion, and reducing skin inflammation. You can use it in your bath, use it to make a paste for a face mask, or use it as a gentle cleanser.

Raw Sugar

More course than brown sugar, raw sugar offers an increased mechanical abrasion. While including the same natural source of glycolic acid to melt the body’s natural glue which holds dead cells in place.

Also, a humectant raw sugar draws moisture to the skin from the surroundings to hydrate as it smooths your complexion.

Even with its more coarse texture raw sugar is still gentle enough to be used on the face and body. To polish and clear the skin leaving a glowing shine. Noted by some to brighten and reduce the appearance of scars over time.

Other Additives

Aloe Vera

With a history spanning over five thousand years, the Aloe Vera plant has been used by every civilization bar none. Well known as a treatment for sunburns today, the nourishing plant was even used to treat nuclear burns of people injured in the explosions of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that ended World War II.

Used in our Low Oleic soap and some Beard Care products, aloe is a natural astringent that helps to absorb excess oil and other impurities from in the pores and on the skin. While the plant also possesses hormones with anti-inflammatory properties which can help scars and marks left from breakouts and acne.

While the non-comedogenic gel is an excellent source for hydration without clogging the pores. Nourishing the skin with vitamins A, C, and E.


Amla Berries

Sometimes referred to as Indian gooseberries are a product of India we infuse into oils used for many of the beard care products we make. Used in the middle east for centuries as a hair care ingredient the amla berry is said to be a hair superfood. With as little as 3.5 ounces having the vitamin C of 20 oranges. Furthermore, the small fruit is an excellent source of vitamins A and E as well. Plus iron and calcium.

Long praised in India for boosting hair growth and protecting it from damage. Research evidence has started to support some claims as the berry’s vitamins and fatty acids help strengthen hair follicles, giving the hair strength and luster. While also increasing circulation in the scalp, which stimulates growth.

Other known benefits of this vitamin powerhouse are the prevention of dry skin that leads to flaking and the conditioning effect of vitamin E to leave the hair soft and shiny.


While some might say using beer in a soap is a waste of a good beer, yet there is no denying the benefits of amino acids and vitamins in beer to the skin. As we all know beer is made from water, grain, hops, and yeast. Where the grain and hops work together to form vitamin B-complex and amino acids. Both are noted for moisturizing and softening skin. The yeast forms a strong antibacterial compound that helps to fight various skin problems.

Sourced from local craft breweries the nutrients found in these beers are said to be higher, according to many medical experts. Claiming craft beers have added benefits when compared to traditional beers as most small craft breweries do not use the same filtering and pasteurizing processes as larger nationwide brewers do. Therefore craft beers tend to retain more of the beneficial compounds.


Goat’s Milk

Used for thousands of years but only recently becoming truly popular goat’s milk is a gentle but powerful all-natural skincare ingredient that smoothed and brightened your complexion. While working wonders on sensitive skin.

Most often the starting point of elimination treatments for people with skin problems. The lactic acid and moisturizing fatty acids naturally found in goat milk work together to soothe the skin.

Noted as having the same pH as the skin goat’s milk cleanses without disturbing the natural microbiome of the skin. Which is a game changer when dealing with sensitive skin problems. Yet, the true compound that makes this powerhouse moisturizer so effective in soap is Lactic acid.

An alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) known for its gentle hydration and exfoliation properties. Lactic acid has been shown to increase the production of the mortar or glue that holds the skin cells together. To keep the good qualities inside such as moisture and lipids, while keeping the not-so-good qualities out, bacteria and allergens.

Green Tea

First used in China as a medical tonic many centuries ago, Green Tea was introduced to Japan between 1187 and 1191. Becoming an integral part of the Japanese culture with the creation of a formal ceremony.

A virtual powerhouse of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial compounds Green Tea is known as one of the healthiest drinks on earth. It’s benefits effective both ingested and topical.

Known to have a powerful antioxidant called EGCG, which fights DNA damage from UV rays, a potent anti-aging ingredient that combats signs of premature aging. Along with a powerful antibacterial agent for treating acne and unclogging pores, Polyphenols.

But Green Tea doesn’t end there, chocked full of vitamin B2 and vitamin E, both essential for skin health. B2 plays an essential role in maintaining collagen levels for youthful and firm skin. While vitamin E supports new skin cell turn over as it acts to hydrate dry or imbalanced skin.


One of the ingredients used in India for ages to create a natural paste to clean hair, dried Hibiscus flowers are ground and combined with other herbs. Noted through Indian culture for keeping hair full while resisting the effects of aging.

Proponents of Ayurveda, an alternative medicine system heavily practiced in India and Nepal, suggest the flower strengthens the hair follicle to promote growth. While the natural amino acids of the flower are known to help form a structural protein called keratin. The protein is used by the body to help prevent hair breakage.

While the hibiscus flower is also a source of mucilage, which acts as a natural conditioner to coat the hair shaft holding in moisture and retaining its luster.

As the antioxidants and vitamins present in Hibiscus help in producing melanin, a naturally occurring pigment that gives hair its natural color.


Pine Rosin

Pine rosin is used in only one of our products, “Mustache Wax”. Rosin is the hard yellowish solids remaining after pine resin is boiled to remove the plant’s essential oils.

Used in many modern products from dental floss, and paper making, to food packaging. Noted for its antibacterial properties, rosin is the pine tree’s natural protectant that seals any damage to the tree’s bark.

Traditionally, beeswax and pine rosin were combined to produce various products. Such as food wraps (the forerunner to the plastic sandwich baggy), and of course, mustache waxes. Rosin helps the beeswax withstand the heat of the day and water that would easily melt the grooming product away.


Pine Tar

Another product from the pine tree we use in a specialty soap we make. Listed as a beard stripper to help remove the build-up of beeswax found in many of our beard products. Yet, the antiseptic properties of pine tar also make this an excellent soap to use for the body as well.

Traditionally made by harvesting dead pines and selectively choosing sections still retaining the yellowish tent to the wood. Then cooking the wood in a container where oxygen is restricted while allowing the tar or cooked resin to escape into a collection pot.

Conventionally this highly anti-inflammatory substance was used to help many skin problems.

Slippery Elm Bark

Used for centuries by Native Americans for its healing properties, Slippery Elm Bark is packed full of vitamins and minerals. Such as beta-carotene, selenium, calcium, zinc, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese, B vitamins, tannins, phosphorus, and vitamin C. Which make this herb powder is a fantastic additive we use to infuse many of our beard care products.

As the herbs name suggests this bark is very slippery which makes for an excellent hair conditioner and detangler. The amino acids encouraging circulation to the roots of the hair and the hair follicles. To promote new and healthy growth, while adding shine and sheen to damaged hair. While the presence of zinc and calcium helps to further strengthen the strands so that they’re less prone to breakage and frizz.

Sodium Lactate

As you can probably guess, sodium lactate is a type of salt. Actually the salt of lactic acid produced from fermented beets or corn which is sometimes used commercially as a food preservative or a humectant in cosmetics or liquid soaps.

However, it is used in very small amounts during our processes for the effect it has on curing handmade soaps. Speeding up the process to allow unmolding sooner and producing a hard soap loaf.

Clays exfoliants and other additives

Oils and Types of Butter

The oils and types of butter we use in our products are what sets up apart. Sure some are widely used throughout the handmade soap business, yet others are more exotic or old world.

Come explore what we use to invigorate, refresh, and tingle the senses.

Clays exfoliants and other additives

Fatty Acids and Vitamins

While the oils used in our soaps sets us apart, it’s the fatty acids and vitamins that give those oils their properties. Without them, the soap wouldn’t be soap!

Come learn the benefits of using natural handmade soap!

Clays, Exfoliants, and Other Additives

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